With trade talks cooling off, it seems the Texas Rangers may be stuck with Cole Hamels and Shin-Soo Choo.
Long thought to be two players Texas would move on from in this trade deadline, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that the chatter surrounding Cole Hamels and Shin-Soo Choo has cooled off considerably. This doesn’t bode well for the Rangers who are in dire need of prospects and were hoping to unload veterans to help jumpstart their rebuild.
Cole Hamels’ Value is Dwindling
Ask any Rangers’ fan if Cole Hamels has been any good in July and they’ll laugh in your face. Hamels trade value is at a free fall off the side of a mountain right now as he continues to struggle this month. In July, Hamels has made 4 starts and been blasted for 21 earned runs in just 17 innings to the tune of an 11.12 ERA. With opponent’s hitting .359 against the lefty, many are pointing out Hamels drop in velocity and that he seemingly has lost his pinpoint control. His season ERA has ballooned to 4.72 through 20 starts which is on pace to be his new career worst after he hit 4.20 in 2017.
On top of his struggles on the mound, Hamels is owed another $7 million this season and if he’s bought out of his $20 million option for 2019, he’s guaranteed another $6 million. Now Texas would be willing to eat a lot of his 2018 salary and the $6 million buyout but I would guess they would like to stay away from paying a big portion of his team option for 2019. This wouldn’t be a problem is Hamels didn’t have a 20-team no trade clause in his contract. Because of that, he likely would block a trade to a team on the list unless he was guaranteed his option would be picked up for 2019. So now, the market for Hamels is essentially down to 10 teams at the maximum. This severely impacts his value and as Crasnick notes in his article, “An executive for one team in the starting-pitching market said the Rangers have “nothing” going on with Hamels at the moment.” That’s a scary statement for the Texas Rangers who would desperately like to get at least some return for Cole.
Shin-Soo Choo’s Contract is Killing His Market
Unlike Cole Hamels, Shin-Soo Choo’s value from a performance standpoint is at his highest since he joined the Rangers. Choo, fresh off a 52-game hit streak, is hitting .287 in 2018 and is among the league leaders in on-base percentage at .402. The lefty has served as Texas’ leadoff man for most of the season and has been one of the few bright spots on the season. Early this year, Texas wasn’t really considering moving Choo because of his large contract but his performance this year has put some buzz in the air. One thing that is hindering a deal for Choo is that he predominantly fills the DH role for the Rangers and is limited a bit in the outfield. Obviously, that really cuts his market down to the AL as he isn’t going to be replacing anybody’s right fielder anytime soon.
Much like Hamels, Choo’s contract is also a big issue. Choo is owed $42 million over the next two seasons. For a 36 year old, the remaining two years on his deal is enough to turn most teams off. Even though the Rangers likely would be willing to eat a good portion of that salary, it’s hard to find teams willing to deal prospects for a two and a half year commitment to a 36 year old. This is killing his trade value and likely means Texas could be stuck with him.